The folks at The Connecticut Working Families Party are angry. They’re so angry about the AIG bonuses, they organized a bus tour for last Saturday, March 21st, of the homes of the executives who benefited.
Says Jon Green, CWFP Director:
We’re going to be peaceful and lawful in everything we do. I know there’s a lot of anger and a lot of rage about what’s happened. We’re not looking to foment that unnecessarily, but what we want to do is give folks in Bridgeport and Hartford and other parts of Connecticut who are struggling and losing their homes and their jobs and their health insurance an opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy.
I’m glad for Mr. Green’s reassurance that CWFP isn’t trying to foment rage against those AIG executives or anything, because without that, I might have been confused.
Seriously, I understand this anger. Unfortunately, the kind of anger that CWFP is encouraging is woefully misdirected. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding AIG, the TARP funds they received, the morality of the business practices that led to their financial troubles, their wisdom in not renegotiating the contracts, or any number of dubious business decisions, the AIG employees were, to my knowledge, acting within the law. To make them the butts of our collective anger serves no purpose and poses some very real dangers.
First, this kind of misdirected anger could lead to violence. Even taking Mr. Green at his word that CWFP’s motives are relatively benign, I think we can be reasonably certain that they did not perform background checks to screen out disturbed individuals who might potentially be a danger to the AIG executives and their families.
Second, while CWFP’s goal may not be to foment anger and rage, they are apparently not so circumspect about stoking the smoldering fire of class envy by providing an “opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy.”
Finally, and less obviously, misdirected anger protects the legitimate object of that anger, in this case various administrations and an assortment of Congressmen and Senators. Witness:
(Note: This vides was produced prior to the 2008 election. By including this video, it is not my intention either to blame all Democrats or absolve all Republicans.)
Unless our anger is narrowly focused on the proper source of that anger, what hope do we have to rid ourselves of the source?
Yes, I’m angry. Right now I’m angry that a group of elected leaders placed an experiment in social engineering over the financial well-being of our country. I’m angry at every Senator and Congressman that voted for the TARP legislation and I’m doubly angry at every Democrat Senator and Congressman – plus the three Republicans – who voted for ARRA. To see these people writing letters and appearing on television now, doing everything possible to deflect the blame from themselves…well, that’s not my idea of leadership.
So I’m going to take my anger, and I ask that you do the same, and channel it into a resolve to replace every last one of these irresponsible, cowardly legislators. Please, research your legislators record on the Community Reinvestment Act and their votes on TARP and ARRA, then get busy: blog about it, write letters to your local paper or campaign for a principled, fiscally conservative candidate. Together, we can make a difference.